Friday, July 27, 2012

What I want from you is - your Voice.

Voice. It's really that important and yet it seems the most elusive part of writing. You can point it out if you see it, but it's hard to define exactly. And it's not something you can imitate easily, I don't think...well, if you imitate it, then it's not YOUR voice, is it?

Having just read a section on "voice" by agent Paula Balzer, I find myself wanting input from more experienced writers on this topic. Balzer says that if she is drawn by [the voice, among other things] in a query letter, she'll read the first paragraph of the manuscript. If it's as good, she'll read more. So voice is crucial.

I follow quite a few blogs of experienced writers. Their posts and comments are always so lyrical and well thought out. It sounds like they are writing poems and prose right on their blogs and comments of others' blogs! My writing, on the other hand, is very straight forward. Clangs in my ear when I read it next to theirs.

I took a number of classes with the same teacher for my grad degree in English. It was a smaller college and I went part time for two years becaue I was teaching too. My first class with her was about Memoirs. In my third class with this professor (Children's Lit), she had us write a memoir type piece and she said the beauty of my writing is that it is simple. She said not that it's simplistic, but that it's not a bunch of hootin' and hollerin'. That particular writing made points about my faith and events where it has played out in my life, as I was writing a piece of my story in correlation with the newest Newbery Medal winner (at the time - 2007), The Higher Power of Lucky, by Susan Patron. (But overall, it was the fourth or fifth memoir piece she'd read from me, not to mention my research work.) This professor, not really a "faith" person, was impressed with the way I presented my view.

The funny thing is that I had a co-worker reading my writings for classes as well and he made the exact same comment about it being "simple," and gave the same explanation.

So if it touched her so much, and more than one person has made the same statement, then is "simple" my voice? And will it happen naturally as I write and re-write? Is this just my inexperience talking here?

Any advice/opinions on Voice out there? Let me hear it!

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